Friday, July 27, 2012

I don't answer texts - and other annoying things about me

"Oh, Lucy. I'm so depressed. I don't know what to do."

"I think what you need most of all, Charlie Brown, is to come
right out and admit all of the things that are wrong with you."
                                               - The Doctor is in: You're a good man Charlie Brown

I had the realization recently that far to many of my posts here have been about my own pet peeves.

I decided that was not entirely fair.

Lately, there have been rather a lot of "pet peeve" type of conversations around me. Perhaps it is the rising political fever, or the contraversial books and news articals currently making their rounds. But many of those in my circles, some of whom I would not consider "the type" even, are making their dissatisfaction known.

So, in the spirit of learning to laugh at myself - I am writing a post about all the "Pet Peeves" that I encompass. I offer no excuse aside from I am always learning to be a better me. And some of these things I am working to improve. Others? Well, let me just claim imperfection, heave a sigh and move on.

1. I tattle on other people's kids. For the record, please feel free to do it to my own as well. I am a big advocate of "it takes a village." I consider myself a part of your village, please join mine as well. (not in a weird cultish sort of way. Just in a "We all help out other moms." sort of way. It is lots less creepy.) But I am well aware that kids are capable of a whole heck of a lot more then we give them credit for. And so if you are at my house and you ask your kids to do/not do something and they disobey? I will be telling on them. And I will put pressure on you until you follow through. It is good for us all people. You know when your kid is not behaving and you are frustrated and you pretend you just didn't notice this time? Yeah, I noticed. And so did they. And they know they got away with it, and they will make your life harder later because of it. So I will be tattling. You'll thank me later.

2. I am a brainstormer. So if you have a problem, especially if it is child related - I may offer some advice regardless of whether or not you asked. This is something I am working on, and please let me know if it ever bothers you.  I will stop, I promise. But what I immediately will do when faced with a problem is offer the first 2-5 pieces of advice that I can think of - they may be entirely unrelated to one another and from entirely different sides of the pool. It is me just acting as a sounding board. I do not doubt your parenting abilities. I just know that as moms, we can get stuck sometimes and need a fresh perspective. I also know that I am a damn good mom, even with my flaws. Chances are you are too, I don't hang out with crappy moms. Ever. So I just want to encourage you through the haze of not getting enough sleep and cut a few corners for you as far as ideas are concerned. But It bothers me when people "have all the answers" even when they don't. So this is something that often bothers me about myself and I am working to curb it. So feel free to remind me of that if I ever cross a line. I wont get offended, well - my ego may get bruised a bit. But I will be ok, and I will thank you later.

3. If I love it, I think everyone will love it. I get excited and passionate about it, and I want to talk about it and share it with as many people as possible. I get this from my mom, she is the same way and I get some of my best ideas from her! The problem is, people are different. So you may not love it AT ALL and I'll admit, that confuses me. I'll get over it though, but in the meantime, I can be a little annoying when I tell you the same story for the 204532 time - or try to get you to listen to a song, or watch a show, or cloth diaper you baby, or have a natural birth, or wear the color red, or taste greek food, or drink lots of water everyday, or read this article or buy this book, or...well you get the idea.

4. I will be 15 minutes late. I HATE this about myself. And it has really only become true in the last year, that third child did me in. I have tried to start earlier, I have attempted to get things done ahead of time. But no, rarely will it work. So I have accepted this about myself - all while still trying to fix it of course. But I am trying not to feel so guilty, take a deep breath and know that I will be there eventually, and everything will be ok.

5. My house is always dusty. Some of this I will blame on living next to a field with LOTS of dirt. But there is a layer on everything and there is no way I feel I can keep up with it.

6. To go along with that - I have cabinets that I never fully un-packed when I moved. My bathroom is one of them. If I spent an hour cleaning it out, I would have tons more space in there. But it doesn't happen because it is low on the priority list (first on the list being feed the children and do the dishes, and they expect to be fed three times a day! The nerve of these people...). So they remain cluttered, and I shut the door and try to forget.

7. Have you heard about those people that go to college, and then quit with one semester to go? Why don't they just finish! One semester, how hard can that be? Well, I know this one person, that quit with just one CLASS. Can you believe! ...oh wait, that's me! One class. No degree. Thousands in student loan debt, no degree. You need 126 units to graduate. I have 124. I needed one stinking college algebra class, no dice. Didn't happen. I ran out of time, and what they tell you is true. Once you quit, it is HARD to go back. I even tried to go back a couple of years ago. I now have 6 classes I have to finish (or did 6 years ago), yeah I expected that. But one is language, and they ask you take the last 20 something units AT the school and not transferred from another school.  When I asked how I was going to take Spanish correspondence and/or online (Since I now live 200 miles from my school) their exact words were "do the other classes, and we will figure that out once we get there." Yeah, at well over $1000.00 per unit that is just not good enough for me. So I gave up on graduating from that school. I will finish my degree. I MUST. But it will be a while, and it will likely be in a different major since my interests have changed in the last 12 years. Wow, has it really been 12 years since I started college?  Feeling old people!

8. This is perhaps one I am most ashamed of. I fall into the category of "out of sight, out of mind."  This means that if I don't see you, I will likely be BAD at keeping in contact. Facebook has helped with this. But I will probably not call you, I will try very hard. But the chances are slim. It doesn't in any way mean I do not love you. In fact, if I do get to talk to you I will be so overjoyed I may get all emotional on you. And I will go on and on about how we need to see/talk more often! And I will really, truly mean it from the bottom of my heart.  But then life hits, and it doesn't happen. I hate this about myself, because it makes me seem flaky, and maybe I am. Though I truly don't mean to be. So accept my most humble apologies. Know that I love you and I miss you - but I just suck at keeping in contact when we are far away.

9. This one drives my husband crazy - I get lost. A lot. I don't really know my right from my left. I mean I know...but it takes a few seconds. Please do not even try to ask me where North and South are. I need directions for just about everywhere and I will need them multiple times because I forget. I forget a lot. This is embarrassing. But I have had to learn to deal with it. I am un-coordinated. I trip and fall. I drop things, I make messes. I hurt myself. I am not crafty, I can't make things look pretty (Aside from my babies, I made them and they are very pretty!). I have no eye for color, for art, for what goes with what. I will ask the same question over and over because I just forgot. Anything that takes finesse of any kind I have to learn to do manually, there is no instinct involved. And it is hard work. I can't dance, I can't even move so it looks natural. This will someday drive my children insane, and that encourages me. I honestly think that the compass in my brain just got stuck, it is not free floating as a compass should be, and it makes everything that takes hand-eye coordination and/or any sense of direction 50 billion times harder for me then it should be (I also exaggerate, but that could be a post in and of itself). I have accepted the fact that few understand, and I am so sorry if I ask for directions to your house over and over and over again. Please just be patient with me. I will learn eventually!   

10.  And this is perhaps the worst of the lot - ergo the title. I do not answer txts and emails as I should. Yes, I am that rude person that you send a message too not knowing if you might sometime, maybe, perhaps, hear back...someday?  Sometimes I write back right away. And sometimes it takes hours, or days or you remind me a week later that you never got an answer...and I, full of embarrassment that I was *that* person yet again meekly replies, hoping you will forgive me - knowing it will likely happen again. It is a character flaw and I deeply apologize to any and all who have been hurt or frustrated by my lack of courtesy. I wish I could say it will not happen again - but all I can really do is say that if it really bothers you, please let me know and I will triple my efforts to improve when it is your messages I am replying too.

All right, I'll try
I'm not very handsome or clever, or lucid,
I've always been stupid at spelling and numbers.
I've never been much playing football ir baseball
Or stickball, or checkers, or marbles, or ping-pong

You're not very much of a person...

That's certain

And yet there's a reason for hope.

There's hope?

For although you are no good at music,
Like Schroeder, or happy like Snoopy,
Or lovely like me,
You have the distinction to be
No one else but the singular, remarkable, unique
Charlie Brown.

I'm me!

Yes- it's amazingly true,
For whatever it's worth, Charlie Brown,
You're you.

I'm me, and while I ever hope to be improving. For now - that is enough.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I am not crazy! But Hashimoto might be...

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.
 - Madeline L'Engle

There is a "Christian-eze" saying I cannot abide. Would you like to know what it is?

'God will never give you more than you can handle.'

There are two main reasons that I hate this saying. The first is that it is not in the Bible. No where does God claim this - and yet Christians spout it as if it is quoted directly. God DOES say in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that we will not be tempted beyond what we can endure. But that is talking strictly temptation - not hard life stuff. 
The second reason it bothers me to no end when I hear this saying, is that it is entirely not true. OF COURSE God is going to give you more then you can handle. How else do we learn to rely on Him?
 There is a tiny dust-devil in the corner next to me.(I am sitting outside at the moment) I love it. It keeps making me smile. It has such personality for a bit of wind and dust. Coming up at such odd moments. Like it grows tired and stops for a bit and then remembers something exciting and simply can't contain it, he has to spin around and around! It is these small things that feel like tiny gifts, the little joys that can't help but make you smile. The dust devil twirling 2 feet from me, this stolen moment of solitude, the smell of summer. My ice-tea is almost gone though. That is not good. That problem must be remedied asap.  

Life right now is more than I can handle. More than I can handle alone anyhow... I feel so entirely wretched most of the time, tired to the point of tears most of the day, and so very lonely lately. But with no energy to entertain or even think of carting kids off to a friend's house only to chase The Monkey around in an environment not safe for her for however long it takes for me to beg an excuse to leave, only to just be able to sit for a moment...and then I am so tired for the rest of the day I get nothing done at home.

My throat hurts constantly, my right foot is always aching so that I am limping half the time, and the rest of my body tends to just feel as if it always needs a good oiling. My chest is always tight, my ears constantly buzz to the point of pain and my fingertips are all cracked and splitting, so that I cannot wear clothes that are not 100% cotton or they will pull at my fingers, snagging them on everything. Breastfeeding, which has always been easy for me, causes me such extreme pain right now because my beloved Monkey has nicked me with her ever blossoming teeth while attempting acrobatics during her supper and nothing on me is healing. So it stays nicked, and painful - which causes great anxiety while nursing, which makes my ears buzz worse, which makes me tense, which makes her tense, which makes her want to nurse more...

I can't think. My mind is in a fog. I used to have a quick I do not. I get flustered very easily and it is embarrassing and frustrating and I feel trapped and dull and slow witted. My people skills are going away, I have no hobbies since it takes everything in me to just get through a day and if I get the dishes done and the children are alive at the end of the day it is a victory.

And I just now sat staring at my computer for far too long trying to remember what letter makes the “Vvv”sound and would therefore start the word “Victory.” Bad I tell you.

I am so thankful for patient kids – they know mom is not well. And they know that when I get grumpy it is not because of them. We have talked about this. But still, I cannot handle the questions, the touching, the whining, the arguing, the messes, the fussing, the noise, oh the noise! The running, the wildness, even the laughing and playing will hurt me because I have no filter. And so I raise my voice before I should, causing them pain. Causing me to apologize and give them hugs, but that is no excuse.

Yes, this is more than I can handle. Which makes me feel like a wimp, because in the grand scheme of things? This is really not that bad. I am not in great pain most of the time, it is all just annoying. I know many moms that are in constant pain, and they don't complain. They amaze me. So I am going to shut-up about my physical ailments. 

I may be lonely and anxious and probably more then a little depressed most days, but I have a husband that I like a whole lot and he is a very good friend. Besides, he is cute and I get to go to bed with him every night. What more could I ask for? So I shall stop complaining of that. I have many friends and beloved family, I am so very lucky. I may not get to see them as often as I would chose. But I also have many friends who do not get to see their husbands at all, sometimes for months at a time. I am so very blessed.

I grew up lucky, my family was healthy. I have avoided some of the body issues that plague the female population in the US today. Health has always been important to me, I like being healthy, exercising is (usually) a hobby of mine. And I have discovered it was a point of pride for me. Because when I gained 30lbs almost overnight without changing anything in my gym/diet routine, my self-esteem was bruised very badly and I have not yet recovered. Clothes not fitting is hard, but I find it even harder to accept buying new ones that actually fit. It feels like I am giving up, (and a waste of money since I HAVE clothes and hope to not be this size for to much longer). But if I go to the gym right now I am so tired the rest of the day I can barely get off the couch, much less chase a one year old around the house. And it doesn't do any good anyhow...I keep gaining. My hair and nails have started breaking and falling out (the hair, not the nails). I hadn't realized it had gotten as bad as it was (Aside from being annoyed that there is hair EVERYWHERE) until I found a bald patch near the front of my hair-line this morning. I just sat and stared at it. My body is not ok!

I do not get complimented anymore, and that is ok. I don't really need compliments from anyone but my husband. I don't want them from anyone else. But it has been a hard adjustment to make when I got them pretty makes me feel shallow. Which of course makes me feel even worse about myself... But deep breath, that is ok. This is not me, this is my body being not ok. It is embarrassing when my clothes don't fit, especially being the one that goes to the gym and just gets bigger.... But this too will pass. And all this is surface and really doesn't matter. So I will stop complaining. I am blessed. So very blessed.

And you know what else? I am not crazy!!!

I'll admit, I was worried. I was really worried. Is this all in my head? Was I causing all this by stressing about something that wasn't there, and then that stress caused the symptoms which then made me stress more? I couldn't handle life, it was too much. I felt cheated – this is all more then I can handle. And yet I would grow ashamed because when it was broken down, this is all not a big deal. So I am tired, yeah, that happens when you have small kids! So I was gaining weight, yeah – that happens when you are over 30. Give me more symptoms, I'll give you more reasons why. My mantra lately has been “God, HELP!”

But listen, I am not crazy! I cannot even begin to tell you the relief I feel.

Remember when I wrote about being broken? And my golden ticket when it went away for a while. Well it came back. BAD. But not the same. I couldn't manage it as well as before. I started to feel lost. My two month pass ran out, I got another blood test only to discover my doctor was on vacation for the next 3 weeks. So I waited.

I just went in yesterday. I was so very stressed not knowing what the outcome would be. And I will openly admit my biggest fear was being told that everything honky-dory. That I really WAS crazy, I had felt this way for no reason. It was all in my head. My blood pressure was through the roof when they first took it. I did some deep breathing and it was better by the 3rd time the nurse took it.

I was miserable in my 10 minute wait in the room for the doctor to come in. The room kept spinning, my ears were buzzing, I was dizzy. And then he came, he looked at my chart and his first words were “Ok, so now you have VERY low thyroid levels!”

I'm not crazy!

He said I have full blown Hashimoto's disease. I asked where I was on the scale of high vs. low and he said that putting “normal” levels at 100, when I first came in in March I was at a 120. Elevated, but not dangerously so. Then late April my levels had gone back down to around 100 (my golden ticket). Now (or 3 weeks ago when the blood was taken) I am at about a 60.

I am not crazy! Thank you God I am not crazy.

I got some medicine, I should start feeling MUCH better soon. I am so very VERY happy. I will likely be on this medicine for the rest of my life. It will take some time to get the dose right, but that is ok. I will likely go up and down. Occasionally have “Thyroid attacks” (though they should be less with the medicine). And I may even have to deal with bouts of hyper-thyroid again. I will take a pill a day forever. And that is just fine with me, because I am not crazy!

Funny, how putting a name to something can help so much. Nothing has changed in the past 24 hours. But I feel so much better today just knowing. I don't have to wean, the medicine is completely safe for breastfeeding. I have hope of becoming myself again. It feels like such a gift. I am so very thankful.

I can't handle this. I am vulnerable. But God will give me strength, of this I have no doubt. Because He has, He has answered my cry for help every time. I have made it through everyday so far. And the best part of all?

I Am Not Crazy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kaylee Anne

Tomorrow my baby girl will be one. 

Wow, isn't that crazy? Look how little!

I will write a whole post about her being one very soon. I promise. But for now - Happy Birthday Monkey. You are the littlest, cutest, silliest one year old I have every known. And I love you so very much.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Grace: In a sea shell

Why does it seem to come as a complete surprise to my kids that they have to clean their room every night? You would think that after doing this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. For the past, few years? That they would have gotten the hang of it by now, or at least learned to expect it. But no, it comes as a complete shock, even a betrayal - that I, their mother of all people! Someone who is supposed to love them! Would DARE to demand that they put away the messes they have so dutifully created.

It really doesn't take long. Put the toys in the toy-box, the clothes in the basket - put the papers in the trash and the books on the shelf and make sure your beds have all the necessary bedtime companions in their proper places. It truly is a 5-10 minute job at the very most. And yet, the perceived agony that comes with the instruction "make sure your room is clean." Astounds me.

As it was last night - I was tired. The girls were not. They had slept that afternoon after being up late for fireworks. I had not. Dad was working for the evening so, after a day alone with kids, I was facing an evening alone with kids - and then dishes and laundry. So perhaps the combination was bad in the first place.

I informed the girls of two things. 1. If they didn't get the room clean by 8:00 there would be no bedtime story. 2. I needed to vacuum in there, (because Ayla had recently deemed it necessary to crush some discovered Styrofoam- so there were small white particles littering the floor - not to  mention somehow the fish food has been spilled, though no one seemed to know how or when.) Therefore, once they deemed it "clean enough for the vacuum." I would then come in with a fine toothed comb and clean off of the ground, all that could hurt my vacuum (rocks, bobby pins, crayons, bug collections, etc) and it would all go promptly into the trash.

I was in no mood to be patient. I will admit, there was a part of me that HOPED I would find something on the ground. I needed, after all, to teach my children the value of doing a good job! No half-assed work around here. "You don't make it sparkling, you lose your treasures!" My mind muttered in maternal glee. This is a good time to teach those scallywags a lesson or two on doing your best work!

Well, my need to bring the fear of the mother onto my children was satisfied that night. Not only were there still broken crayons, forgotten artwork and polly pocket shoes. There was a scattered collection of sea shells just under the bed. Certainly not something the vacuum can handle.

Proudly I declared the devastation of my combing. "I told you guys, that if I found anything left on the ground that would hurt my vacuum, it would go into the trash." I said to the waiting troops. "I found these shells, someone chose not to put them where they belonged. And the consequences is that they are going to be thrown away."

Now, I expected tears. After all, I would have gotten tears if  my presentation had contained a torn bit of ribbon someone had carelessly tossed aside. The content is not usually important, my children are typically not very connected to specific items - they just don't like something being throw away. And usually this demonstration is enough to produce more careful combing on their part in the future.

But this time? My 6 year old immediately exploded. "THOSE ARE MY SHELLS FROM KINDERGARTEN BEACH DAY!!!!" You would think the world had ended. (And the amount of snot and saliva that immediately started flowing could have given a flood a good chance at that.)

"You knew" I calmly stated. "You were given the chance to put them where they belonged. You chose not to. I said if anything was left on the ground it would go into the trash."  I plopped them into my trash-bag, feeling justified in my lesson. Sure, it is hard to see my baby cry. But these are the hard lessons we have to teach as parents right? Standing our ground. Following through. And I am GOOD at following through. What I say is law in this house, 100%.

But all of a sudden I felt an odd tugging. As I went into the kitchen to dispose of the shells forever, I stood at the trashcan for a moment. Then I snagged the bag with the shells in it out of the larger trash bag. Not sure why, but feeling I needed too.

We combed hair, we brushed teeth. We got into pajamas. Taylor was hiccuping her sorrow. Telling me how there was no beach day in first grade. Ayla tried to make her sister feel better, she told her that "When she was in KG she would give Taylor the shells she got from her beach day." (Which was very kind of her!) But nothing would calm the torrent of tears. I flatly stated that the girls should go get into bed and I would be in there to sing their nighttime songs soon.

As they got into bed, I found myself again in the kitchen staring at the trash-bag. This was very unusual for me! To doubt a decree? Was I going soft? My children were doomed!

And then it clicked in my head. I fished out the shells, put them into two bags. I stuffed them into my pockets and went to sing to my babies.

Taylor was still sobbing. Snot and tears in her hair, wiped away by her soggy quilt.

"Do you know what Grace is Taylor?" I ask?
"No." She answers.
"What does the Bible call it when we choose to do a bad thing?" I ask.
"Sin." she says.
"That's right." The Bible says that everyone sins sometimes. It also says that when we choose to sin - like lying, or being un-kind or not obeying our parents. That we have to die."

***Flood of tears erupts!***

 "But listen Taylor, God said 'I don't want my babies to die. I love them too much.' And that is why Jesus came. He died for us, for all of the bad things we have done, and everything we will do. God showed us Grace. When we have done something bad, and we deserve a BIG consequence,  Grace is when that consequence is taken away. Sometimes, even though we deserve it, God shows us Grace and takes away the consequence. We don't have to die for our sins, because God showed us Grace instead. We can learn lessons like this from God. And sometimes Taylor - Moms can show grace too." 

I handed her the bag of shells.

I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that followed. She started laughing and crying all at the same time. She hugged me and held on super tight. "Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Mama!" She said between the tears. I just hugged her back and fought the tears myself as I pictured my own pride of being a "consistent, strict, mother" crashing and breaking as God held me, and offered me grace for my own sins.

Taylor slept all night with those shells clutched tightly in her hands. She informed me before she went to sleep that she "wanted to have a party to celebrate Grace" and it wasn't until I told the story to my husband and he said, "We do, every year - it is called Christmas" that it really sunk in.

Thank You God - for the opportunity to be a part of teaching my kids the big lessons. I know that this is a lesson she will get to learn over and over. I re-learned it myself last night. But how amazing that I got to be a part of the teaching! God trusted me, small little me, enough to help teach one of his Babies the story of His Amazing Grace. Let me always be open to helping to teach. Help my pride to never be a stumbling block -in the way of what You want to do for Your babies- let me be a tool, honed to perfection and ready at all opportunities.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. For Your Always and Forever Love, and Your Amazing Grace.